London Rules is the fifth book in Mick Herron’s acclaimed Slough House series. Slough House is where MI5 houses agents it can neither fire nor put in the field, hoping they quit of their own volition instead. And it’s governed by a profane unhygienic Cold Warrior named Jackson Lamb who keeps things running, if not altogether smoothly, and not without a bit of blackmail of the higher ups.
In this installment, there are terrorists loose in England; political shenanigans involving an MP, the MP’s pundit wife, the Prime Minister, and the PM’s favorite Muslim politician. On top of that, someone’s trying to kill Slough House’s resident computer expert, whom no one at the house actually likes, but in an “us” versus “them” world, Slough House protects its own. That’s London Rules.
Mick Herron gets compared to John Le Carre, which is meant to be a compliment. I think it’s a bad comparison, though, because while Herron is a lovely writer, his plots aren’t as convoluted as Le Carre’s, and his descriptions of people and relationships frequently leave me laughing. I never smile at George Smiley. The suspense is still good, though.
If you haven’t read any of the Slough House books, start with Slow Horses and read them in order. You need the backstory to understand this book. If you like Slow Horses, you’ll like the entire series. If not, there’s no point in reading this book either.
Mick Herron, London Rules (New York: SoHo Press, 2018).
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